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Tracking biochemical changes correlated with ultra-weak photon emission using metabolomics

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Author: Burgos, R.C.R. · Cervinková, K. · Laan, T. van der · Ramautar, R. · Wijk, E.P.A. van · Cifra, M. · Koval, S. · Berger, R. · Hankemeier, T. · Greef, J. van der
Source:Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, 163, 237-245
Identifier: 572343
doi: doi:10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2016.08.030
Keywords: Biology · Capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry · HL-60 cells · Metabolomics · Ultra-weak photon emission · Biomedical Innovation · Healthy Living · Life · MSB - Microbiology and Systems Biology · ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences


Ultra-weak photon emission (UPE) is light emitted spontaneously by biological systems without the use of specific luminescent complexes. UPE is emitted in the near-UV/UV–Vis/near-IR spectra during oxidative metabolic reactions; however, the specific pathways involved in UPE remain poorly understood. Here, we used HL-60 cells, a human promyelocytic cell line that is often used to study respiratory burst, as a model system to measure UPE kinetics together with metabolic changes. HL-60 cells were differentiated into neutrophil-like cells by culturing in all-trans-retinoic acid for 7 days. We then used a targeted metabolomics approach with capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry to profile intracellular metabolites in HL-60 cells and to investigate the biochemical changes based on the measured UPE profile. Our analysis revealed that the levels of specific metabolites, including putrescine, creatine, ß-alanine, methionine, hydroxyproline, serine, and S-adenosylmethionine, were significantly altered in HL-60 cells after inducing respiratory burst. A comparison with recorded UPE data revealed that the changes in putrescine, glutathione, sarcosine, creatine, ß-alanine, methionine, and hydroxyproline levels were inversely correlated with the change in UPE intensity. These results suggest that these metabolic pathways, particular the methionine pathway, may play a role in the observed changes in UPE in HL-60 cells and therefore demonstrate the potential for using UPE to monitor metabolic changes. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.